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Hormel workers set to vote on contract offer

The union representing meatpacking workers at the Austin, Minnesota plant said it has recommended workers vote "no" on the current offer from Hormel.

AUSTIN, Minn. — Meatpacking workers at the Hormel plant in Austin, Minnesota are set to vote on whether or not they'll accept a contract offer from the company later this week.

The previous contract expired on Sunday, Sept. 10. The union representing workers said Hormel recently gave the UFCW Local 663 bargaining committee its "final offer," but refused to "give us good wages and secure pensions after record company profits."

The union said in its statement that it's recommending members vote "no" during the voting period on Sept. 13 and 14. "We believe we can win more if we stick together," they said.

"While we are disappointed we have yet to reach an agreement, we remain optimistic," Hormel said in a statement to KARE 11 Sunday night. "Hormel Foods has had strong working relationships with the UFCW for decades, including in Austin. Our representatives will continue to negotiate in good faith."

The vote on Wednesday and Thursday comes in the wake of current contract negotiations between the United Food & Commercial Workers Local unions throughout the country and Hormel.

UFCW Local 663 represents more than 17,000 retail, meat packing and processing, food preparation and manufacturing, healthcare, and other workers in Minnesota and Iowa.

Nearly 40 years ago, Hormel workers were embroiled in one of the longest-running strikes in Minnesota history. On Aug. 17, 1985, about 1,500 workers, members of United Food and Commercial Workers’ Local P-9, went on strike for nearly a year. According to the Minnesota Historical Society, while the strike was unsuccessful for the union, it helped raise awareness "of the plight of factory workers and effecting positive change in unions across the United States."

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